Intellectual Hip Hop Commentary

Watching the Media Watch Hip Hop. This is an open discussion of Hip Hop and it's role in global media. Feel free to post you opinions, perspectives, insights, etc. If you know someone who would be interested in joining the discussion, please refer them here. Enjoy.

Saturday, March 27, 2004

 

NWA: Nigga Within Asia


Check out this video clip of Chinese actors making fun of Japanese culture and its affinity for America's Hip Hop Culture: Tokyo Breakfast. (Thanks to Kevin at Global Pop Conspiracy) The word of the day around the breakfast table is the ubiquitous nigga. (clip courtesy of SuperHonda.com by way of a ClubZone.com forum) From what I can gather research-wise, it's actually a pilot for a T.V. show that never made it air back in 2000. I also heard that "it was put together by Mike Maguire and Tom Kuntz (real name?!) who used to be directors and writers for MTV. Now they're big names and doing video production work with the famous Spike Jonze." (Cult of the Dead Cow)

This is a perfect example of how Hip Hop can be used out of context. Although it's exaggerated, it definitely shows the negative effects of the Second Blackploitation Period were going through right now.

Did dude really have to come in with a box of 40s at the end? (Don't answer that...)
posted by joey  # 3/27/2004 05:43:00 AM

Friday, March 26, 2004

 

Japanese Hip Hop


In an attempt to be thorough, let me not jump into Japanese Hip Hop with two feet... (Here's an interesting article on Japanese Hip Hop.)

Ian Condry has done some extensive research on Japanese Hip Hop, and he has compile an extremely informative body of facts.

The movie Wild Style hit theatres in Japan in 1983. Some of the breakdancers in the movie promoted the movie by performing in in Tokyo department stores. Shortly after young people in Japan began breaking in Tokyo's Yoyogi Park. Crazy-A was one of the first breakers Now as the leader of Rock Steady Crew Japan, he organizes the annual "B-Boy Park" which happens every August, and draws upwards of 10,000 fans and dozens of groups.

DJs were the next stage for Japanese Hip Hop, and they became prominent by 1985. MCs were the last to come about because of nuances in the use of English as opposed to Japanese. By the late 80s, MCs like Tinnie Punx, Ito Seiko, Vibrastone (led by Chikada Haruo), and Takagi Kan ushered in the completion of Hip Hop as a form of music in Japan.

Nowadays, Japanese Hip Hop draws from its American predecessor, but also stays true to its culture. Todays MCs include: Rhymester, King Giddra (including Zeebra and K Dub Shine, who also have solo albums), Scha Dara Parr, DJ Krush, Tha Blue Herb, Dabo (and other performers with Def Jam Japan).

In a previous post, I mentioned how rappers on Def Jam Japan were imitating the Second Blackploitation Period now being experienced in America. But check out how Kohei Japan explains who he is in contrast to his American counterparts in this Quicktime movie clip of his third verse in the song Hungry Strut.

In 1995, King Giddra came out with Bullet of Truth. This song is a throwback to the socially conscious lyrics of Hip Hop's beginning in the inner-cities of America. Check out this Quicktime movie of a verse that exposes the negative aspects of society. Also of interest would be King Giddra's take on America's 9/11 and it's parallel to the Atomic bombing in 1945. Check out this Quicktime movie.

Hip Hop Trivia Bonus: This song "Ue o Muite Arukoo" sang by Sakamoto Kyuu was a huge hit in Japan in 1961, but it also is the only Japanese song (to date) to reach #1 on the U.S. Billboard music charts in 1963. What rappers have used this melody and for what songs?

(all movie clips courtesy of Ian Condry)
posted by joey  # 3/26/2004 08:41:00 PM

Thursday, March 25, 2004

 

The Bubble Sisters: Blackface in Korea?


Hashim pointed me to JSmooth's experience with hearing the N word while listening to some Korean rap. Actor/Pop Singer Edison Chen had a guest rapper named MC Yan from LMF (Lazy Motherfuckaz). The group has dis-banded, but MC Yan still got his own line of toys!

Anyway, MC Yan ended his verse with: "..and you better recognize! Niggaaaaas!!". As I read through the comments, it became apparent that the word nigger/nigga does not carry the same weight outside of black culture. A perfect example is the 10 or more white people who thought they were cool enough to say something like, "That nigga's crazy!" or "What's up, nigga?!" or my favorite "That's my nigga!" (Talk about fights...) It holds true in America as it does abroad, the image that is put out there is the one that is untilized.

Then I came across the Bubble Sisters article in KX-Gen.com. Talk about a train-wreck waiting to happen... Four Korean girls in blackface. Here are some pictures I found at, of all places, PimpDaddySupreme.com. (That's a whole other issue... *sigh*) Here's a video from the Bubble Sisters. (spotted at the Urban Box Office)

Olalekan Waheed Temidire, a Nigerian-Canadian who is teaching English in Seoul, South Korea, wrote a very insightful piece about the double standard of racism in Korea in relation to the Bubble Sisters, African American stereotypes in Korean culture, and Korean stereotypes in American culture.

Hm.
posted by joey  # 3/25/2004 04:41:00 AM

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

 

Check out Def Jam Japan's listing of "Hot Videos"


Def Jam Japan... When you go through the Japanese and English selections, you begin to see how our Second Blaxploitation Period (the current state of Hip Hop) is now influencing how others.

Same cars, same concept, same hos...even the same songs! The only difference: a different race. This reminds me of the spanish-language television channel where everyone is roughly the same color - the lightest skinned people in the country.

Don't get me wrong, I've never been to Japan, but...

Their culture is much different from ours and that has drawn the younger people in Japan to mimic American popular culture. Back in the day, they did rock and roll with the Grease-like image. Nowadays, the young people are doing Hip Hop with an East Coast flavor. Once I figured out that Def Jam Japan started in 2000, it made more sense that it was a caricature of what some deem The Death of Hip Hop.

If you are half-way curious or have a sense of humor when it comes to bad translations, use this tool to translate the pages to see what's really going on.

Stay tuned because I'm going to delve a little deeper into Japanese Hip Hop for the next few posts.
posted by joey  # 3/24/2004 11:30:00 AM

Monday, March 22, 2004

 

Don't fade to Black just yet...


Remember way back when I covered the first rash of Jay-Z remixes? (You don't? Shame...on you.) Well there's a new rash in town!

Thanks to the Jay Z Construction Set, people with musical abilities ranging from excellent to non-existent are able to be DJ Danger Mouse (light on the Danger, and heavier on the Mouse). It's been getting tons of attention lately.

The download is about 630+ MB and includes the following: nine different variations on the Black Album, over 1200 clip art images, and a couple hundred meg of classic samples and breaks. There's even an offer for the CD-ROM on the website.

The beauty of this project is the fact that it was pulled together from free resources that can be found in different places on the internet. This is a double-edge sword. While some people my terrific music...others make stuff that is simply terrifying!

Straight out of Tajikistan (I've never heard of it either...) comes the Magenta Project. The first song (Threat) almost made me leave, but here are the standouts from this project: Encore, Moment of Clarity, December 4th (kind of sounds like when you're driving between two radio stations), Dust Off Your Shoulder (sounds like Jay doing an 80s wrestling theme song), and What More Can I Say. (Courtesy of SoundClick.com)

I'm really feeling this DJ Snicka dude! It's hard to believe he's using the Jay-Z Construction Set to do this... Check out his snippets for: Change Clothes, PSA (Pimpin' Suckas Allday!), Moment of Clarity (what if Jay was MC Eiht?), Allure, Who You Wit [Bonus] (what if Jay was Loon?). (Courtesy of Snicka.com)

This dude named Mike (which is also his DJ name) mixed Jay-Z with Weezer's Blue Album, hence Jay-Zeezer: the Black and Blue Album! It's the classic case of a white boy that had no idea of what Hip Hop was, read something, and dabbled with the music and fell in love. This is actually a pretty interesting project. So far he got songs for: December 4th/Say it Ain't So, Change Clothes/The World Has Turned & Left, Threat/Undone The Sweater Song, Allure/In the Garage, My 1st Song/My Name is Jonas. This set of songs reminds me of that movie White Man's Burden. If white people were black and black people were white, then maybe it would turn out like this. But then again, some black dude would probably be mixing Eminem with Living Colour.

DJ Merlin from Soul Arc came with The Gold and Purple Album and a head-knocking version of Dirt Off Your Shoulder!

Some dude that calls himself "Freed" on the Get Your Bootleg On forum board should be shot for this rendition of Lucifer! It's almost like satanic spoken word.

But if you ever wonder who would win a musical battle between Jay-Z and Kenny G take a listen and you be the judge. I got my money on Jay, but maybe I'm biased. Here's an attempt to explain why this even exists.

So if you ever wanted to be the Neptunes or Timbaland or Dre or just plain silly, download this and make something of yourself.
posted by joey  # 3/22/2004 11:46:00 AM
 

Check out Lloyd Banks video for Smile...


Windows Media or Real Media?

Two quick notes:
1) Will 50 be starting all of G-Unit's videos like this? (Hope not...)

2) This has got to be the hardest Lloyd in the history of people named Lloyd! (Hmmmmm...)
posted by joey  # 3/22/2004 07:06:00 AM

Sunday, March 21, 2004

 

The Death of a Soldiers... (Part 1)


No, I'm not talking about the soldiers in Iraq. I'll leave the military/political stuff for someone else's blog.

This is about the death of two soldiers in Hip Hop. One in the United States, the other in Africa. Neither one is fully embraced and claimed in the Hip Hop culture.

James Tapp, aka Soulja Slim, was gunned down in front of the house he bought for his mother. No CNN, BET, MTV week-long coverage, just a few mentions here and there... Even the article I site is more concerned with the cost of funerals than the violence of the death. (But it is filled with some interesting statistics...) (courtesy of The Times-Picayune) Here's another article that mentions the death of Soulja Slim in the context of the new trend of having memorial t-shirts made the day people die.

Here are some articles and a video covering Soulja Slim's death.
posted by joey  # 3/21/2004 08:27:00 AM
 

Y'all musta forgot...about Lamar!

There has been much debate and controversy as to which rappers are gay in the Hip Hop community.

Although Caushun is "officially" known as the first "gay rapper", Lamar Latrell (Larry B. Scott) has been "out" and about for a long time - 1984!

Y'all better recognize!

(Clip courtesy of Too Much Sexy)


posted by joey  # 3/21/2004 08:26:00 AM

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